Friday, January 29, 2016

Be Willing to Take the Leap! by Rachel Dylan


Rachel Dylan

We’ve jumped into a new year! Although this change can bring fresh hope and expectation, those feelings may also be accompanied by uncertainties. Author Rachel Dylan shares her personal journey to publication, and her story encourages us to set aside our fears and doubts. 
~ Dawn


Be Willing to Take the Leap

There are times in life when there is a fork in the road. A choice you make that can change the trajectory of the winding journey of life. Back in the fall of 2012, I had one of those moments. I was working in a large law firm as a litigation attorney and was in the midst of preparing for a large trial. I was working crazy hours seven days a week. I had way too many things going on in my life. But then I saw that Love Inspired Suspense was having a writing contest. I was immediately interested in entering, but then so many doubts crept into my mind—I don’t have the time, I don’t have the know-how, I don’t want to be rejected…

Even given those fears, I kept reading about the contest and wondering if I could actually do it. The contest was appealing to me because as a first step, you only had to submit the first chapter and synopsis. So while it was still a big decision, it didn’t feel quite so daunting. But even still, I went back and forth on my decision. Finally deciding that it was way too much to try to do the contest in the middle of everything else.

But something in my heart just kept tugging me back to the idea. So before the deadline, I took the leap and wrote the first chapter and synopsis. Much to my surprise, I got a request for a proposal. I received some helpful feedback from the editor and got to work writing the proposal and I submitted it.

Then I was so happy to receive a request for the full manuscript! I couldn’t believe it. I was so thrilled. But shortly after I got the request for the full manuscript, my father passed away. Once again, the doubts crept into my mind. Could I really do this right now? Should I wait? I wondered if I could write a book in the midst of losing my dad. But as it turns out, writing was a huge part of my mourning and healing process. I wrote the rest of the book, and I channeled a lot of my grief through the writing process.

When I got the call from my agent that I had an offer, I cried tears of joy. I dedicated that book to my father who was a preacher. He had shaped my entire spiritual foundation. My only regret was that he wasn’t able to see the finished product. But I knew deep in my heart, that he would’ve been so happy and proud for me making the decision to write Christian fiction.

I often wonder how things would’ve been different if I wouldn’t have pushed through and entered that contest or finished writing the book. If I would’ve let the fear, doubts, and timing stand in my way. I now have two books out from Love Inspired Suspense with two more on the way in April and July. And in the meantime, I’ve also taken the indie plunge too. So wherever you’re at on your writing journey today, my advice is to take the leap. Break through the fears and doubts and take the next step. I know I am so thankful that I did.





(Danger in the Deep South)

Attorney Hope Finch is a rising star at the prestigious New York law firm of Rice & Taylor and is used to high-stakes litigation. But when she’s sent to what she thought was a small, sleepy town in Georgia, she is unprepared for the dangerous turn of events that threatens her life and career.

FBI Special Agent Gabe Marino knows that something sinister is happening in his hometown of Maxwell, Georgia. But even he doesn’t know how big the threat is until he’s assigned to protect a visiting big city lawyer. As Gabe investigates the illegal activity linked to Hope’s client, he tries to caution her, but she ignores his warnings—until it’s her life that’s in jeopardy.

When Hope becomes the target in a deadly corporate cover-up that is directly tied to the biggest trial the town of Maxwell has ever seen, she and Gabe have to find a way to work together. Hope and Gabe race against the clock to uncover the true threat, but can Gabe keep Hope safe in the face of danger or will time run out on them both?




Rachel Dylan writes Christian fiction including inspirational romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and the Windy Ridge Legal Thriller series. Rachel has practiced law for almost a decade and enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids—two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at www.racheldylan.com.

Twitter: @dylan_rachel 




Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Birth Of A Series by Janet Lee Barton

I'm excited to welcome my friend Janet Lee Barton to Seriously Write today. Janet's a talented author who has written some wonderful series for both Love Inspired Historical and Barbour. She has some great tips to share with us, so sit back and enjoy her wonderful post. 
- Terri
 
I’m very excited to have a story coming out in the Barbour Collection, Love Is Patient in February!  My story, Harvest of Love, is the first sale I made and the beginning of the first series I wrote, my historical New Mexico series. I can only give credit to the Lord for making that come about, for when I first started writing, all I wanted was a published story.
 
But, from that little novella, three novels, A Promise Made, A Place Called Home and Making Amends, came about and they are all still available in eBook. I loved these stories and learned much about writing series from it. I’ve always liked reading series, as long as they are stand alone stories, and I love writing them.
 
Even though they are stand alone, my series are tightly connected—with friends, family--or in my Boardinghouse Betrothal series for LIH—the people who live in Heaton House and have become like family to each other.
 
For those authors who might want to begin writing a series like that, the time to begin is with that first story, if possible, and then trust in the Lord to give you more ideas.  Should you decide you want to do a series after the first story has been written, but didn’t have characters to build on—it can still be done by introducing your new characters and then bring in characters from the first story, but show a relationship beginning between old and new characters—new friendships starting, an old friend coming back into one’s life, etc.
 
I try to bring in supporting characters the readers like and care about, and want to know more about, so that I have choices in who to bring into the next story as a hero or heroine. They can’t take over the main story when they are a supporting character, but they need to show up enough that one cares about them. A best friend, a sister, cousin, etc. work great!
 
In Harvest of Love, the cafĂ© owner, Emma, was a friend of the heroine, Liddy, and Emma became the heroine in A Promise Made. In that story, the citizens of Roswell came to be known and from there it was no problem to bring in others who became friends to populate the other two stories in the series. Be sure to bring in new people you think might work for another story. You don’t have to use them in the next story, but maybe several books later.
 
You can bring in new people at any time, but be sure to connect them to others. In A Place Called Home, the heroine was from Roswell, but the hero wasn’t. So you have room to be creative.
 
I’m thinking of continuing this series one day. The beauty of writing series in this day and age of publishing is that you can decide when it ends—or doesn’t. Or when it starts back up again. I hope you think about writing a series and have as much joy doing it as I do!
 
Bestselling author Janet Lee Barton is a Romantic Times Book of the Year winner as well as a multiple ACFW Carol Award nominee. Janet was born in New Mexico and has lived all over the South. She and her husband now call Oklahoma home and have recently downsized to a condo, which they love. When Janet isn't writing or reading, she loves to cook for family, work in her small garden, travel and sew. She writes both Historical and Contemporary romance, and loves writing about faith, families, friends and of course, falling in love.
Visit her at www.janetleebarton.com Sign up for her newsletter there to get writing news first.
If you'd like to read Janet's story Harvest of Love in the Love is Patient Collection click on the link below.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Emotion of Setting by Sandra Ardoin

Back when I was single and fancy-free (in other words, without a date), I spent a Saturday wandering a local outdoor art show. It was a perfect spring day in Texas and a good many people strolled through the park, taking in each exhibit and buying their favorite pieces of art.

I stopped at the booth that displayed the wispy, watercolor prints of Texas artist Michael Atkinson. One, titled Secluded Manor, caught my eye. As with many of his other works, only the top two-thirds contained the painting. The rest was blank, with the exception of a mare and foal, and his signature v-shaped birds.

Now, anything with a horse receives my wholehearted attention. But something else drew me to this particular print. Rather than only imagining it in my mind, I felt as though I were actually seeing an illustration
Here's my terrible photo of Secluded Manor
by Texas artist Michael Atkinson
of the setting of a gothic suspense novel I'd recently read. I'm sure he never realized that, from the horses in the foreground to the mansard roof of the tree-enshrouded house, the artist had captured, not only the way I'd envisioned the scene, but the romance and suspense of the story. 

Though I didn't buy the print that day, it made such an impression that I saved the money needed to purchase and frame it. (Did I say I was young and single ... and poor?) As you can see from the photo, I still own it, along with two others by the artist.

I can't tell you the name of the book this reminded me of, but the writer had painted the setting so vividly that, even now, when I look at that scene on my wall, I remember the emotions evoked while reading the story. I'm right back in the attic room with the imperiled heroine, anxiously looking out a window at the fog-blanketed landscape below. 

Has there been a time when something you saw or heard suddenly transported you back into the setting of a book? Did it give you a new respect for the author or the book?


(This post was revamped from a long ago post on my personal blog.)

~~~~~



Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Not Normal by Angela Arndt

Would you do this to research a book?
Then you're Not Normal.
I’m Not Normal. Neither are you. 

Don't believe me?

One year, Brandilyn Collins emceed a writers conference and joked about how all the "normals" walking around the hotel didn't understand us. She said that if you walk around talking to your characters and engage them in conversation, then you are not normal.

Are you Not Normal?

Here’s the test:

  • Normals don’t keep a pen and paper by the bed to write down great scenes that comes to them just as they’re falling asleep or at 3 a.m.
  • Normals don’t eavesdrop at restaurants to get dialects or phrases to use in projects.
  • Normals had rather watch TV/shop/read/go to the game/breathe than write. 
  • In fact, Normals hate to write.

If none of these apply, then you’re Not Normal. This is good news! Many great writers were Not Normal either.

  • Charles Dickens’ bed always had to face north and he sometimes slept in the streets. He also combed his hair hundreds of times a day.
  • Edgar Allen Poe had a habit of writing on scrolls, long strips of paper glued together with wax, rather than individual sheets of paper.
  • Agatha Christie didn’t have an office or a desk. She wrote where the mood struck and didn’t necessarily write scenes in order either.
  • Stephen King writes 2000 words a day, every day -- no adverbs allowed.
  • James Joyce wrote in bed, on his stomach while Virginia Woolf wrote at a standing desk.
Here's one more test for you: if you hear bad news and wonder how you can work it into your novel. you're probably Not Normal. (Keep in mind, some of these could also be considered not normal to those of us who are Not Normal.)

So the next time your friend’s eyes glaze over when you’re telling her about your book remember that she’s a Normal. She’s not like us.

Angela Arndt
Not Normal
My thanks to my fellow Overcomer and craft partner, Stacey Zink, who reminds me weekly that I shouldn't expect normals to understand.
About the Author
Angie is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency and is currently working on a series of novels set in small Southern towns. In addition to being Not Normal, she's very blessed. She and her husband live in the middle of a big wood outside a small town in South Carolina. She would love for you to visit her website, at http://www.angelaarndt.com.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Writing In-Between by Angie Arndt

Image CC0, Public Doman
I know, I know! This is Monday. It’s not my day. Well, within the last week I have gotten some pretty cool advice from some of my friends. It’s so cool, I’m taking two days to share it with you!

It’s long been a part of my writing excuses to say, “I don’t have time to write.” Even now that I’m not working a full-time job, “life” just gets in the way. (I know you know what I mean.) Last week, my writing mentor and friend, Beth Vogt, challenged me to “write in-between.” By that she meant any in-between part of life that gets in the way of writing.

For example:


If you’re caring for an elderly parent or a young child who's sick, schedule their appointments on a certain day of the week, or if you are a morning writer, schedule them in the afternoon, then write in the waiting room.

If you’re a commuter, write while you’re driving. Use that uninterrupted time to develop your characters and bring along a micro-recorder or use the dictation app on your phone to record your thoughts or dictate scenes.

You can always gather up your interruptions as much as you can so you’ll have bigger chunks of time to write. Don’t think you have any free time? Write instead of:

  • Shopping for yet another handbag. (Guilty!)
  • Write while the football game is on (or replace the words “football game” with any sport or show that you consider dull-as-dishwater but your significant other can’t live without).
  • Write during commercials.
  • Watch your favorite show, but write during the next one.
  • Write before your family gets up. This has become my favorite time to write. Everything is still and quiet.
I’m sure you have your favorite writing in-between moments. Take one of those and leave a comment for us here.
About the Author
Angela Arndt
Angie is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency and is currently working on a series of novels set in small Southern towns. She and her husband live in the middle of a big wood outside a small town in South Carolina. She would love for you to visit her website, at http://www.angelaarndt.com.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Story (Part 3) by C. Kevin Thompson


C. Kevin Thompson

After my incident with the unscrupulous agent (Part 1 of my story can be found here) and my aversion to Christian writers conferences and fledgling, self-publishing houses (Part 2 of my story can be found here), I understood one very important thing: You have to keep writing. It’s a lot like any worthwhile pursuit in life. If you want to be good at something, even at a professional level, you have to practice. Study the playbook. Know all the basics, the nuances, and tricks of the trade to be the best. For in this business, aren’t we all attempting to be professionals? If not, we should be. Otherwise, it’s the arena leagues of life for the rest of our careers. Say, “Goodbye,” to your “NFL” dreams.

On this road to publication, the common fallacy is to believe those New York Times bestselling authors out there, whose work you love to read when it’s released, wrote his or her first bestseller and immediately skyrocketed to stardom. Often, though, that is not the case. Rarely does an author write the great American novel on his or her first try. Usually, there are works in the files, stored away, that will never see the light of a bookstore. There are often several lesser known works flailing away in mid-list purgatory. Even Michael Crichton, with all his success, had Pirate Latitudes tucked away in his files. My guess is it would have remained there if he was still alive.

So, getting back to my story, after reading scads of books on writing, I realized that while I suffered the agony of defeat in the form of rejection letters and emails, coupled with the raw nerves of being duped by the bad agent, I was not going to improve unless I kept writing. So while A Case of Deja Vu slowly moved into the filing cabinet, I started work on my second novel, Q Do You Believe?, based on the Star Trek-TNG series. This work was strictly a labor of love and written for my oldest daughter because we both were big ST fans. It was never intended to be submitted for publication. It was to be a gift for her 16th birthday. I proudly presented it to her on her 18th birthday.

So much for deadlines.

I then tried my hand at YA fiction, completing the first book in a proposed series entitled The Doulos Files, titled after the Greek word for a “servant.” The series was designed to be used in youth groups to help spark discussions and teach members about servanthood in the Kingdom of God. Did I try to get it published? Yes. I farmed it out. And I got rejected. I got discouraged, too. However, I didn’t quit, although the thought had crossed my mind a time or two.

All the while, I studied up on self-publication and had almost settled on a new self-publishing house which was affiliated with a big publishing house everyone would know if I mentioned it. If the book did well, then the big parent house would pick it up. Sounded good to me. Everything, except the price. Several thousands of dollars if I went with the Cadillac of packages offered? Only a couple thousand if I picked the Yugo package. However, even if I had the money, which I didn't, spending that much moola was a high hurdle for me to jump.

Then, I received a flyer from a writer’s conference. The cost of going to the conference fit the budget better, but I still had my hang up about conferences to overcome. After praying about it, I felt led to give the conference a try. If it proved to be a waste of time, then I’d pat myself on the back for having my spiritual reservations confirmed and start saving my pennies for an incursion into the land of self-publication.

Moral of Part 3: Stop talking about that next book you want to write. Stop reading the rejection letters and throwing those pity parties for which we writers are so famous. Instead, write. Read about writing and write. Read the works of other authors you like to read. Then, compare your writing. How does theirs differ? What makes their writing good by industry standards? Find those answers and apply it to your writing. And never stop. Even when you get published, you’ll always feel it could have been better.





A Clandestine Mission.
A Cryptic Message.
A Chaste Promise.

Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy his grandchildren some day.

But when a notable member of the IRA is murdered in a London flat, Blake’s secretive past propels him into the middle of a vindictive, international scheme so hellish and horrific, it will take everything Blake possesses—all of it—to save the United States from the most diabolical terrorist attack to date.




C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge—A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Website: www.ckevinthompson.com   
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com  
Kevin’s Educational Blog: www.thehelpfuleducator.blogspot.com   
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Story Endings and Pickle Factories by Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi Chiavaroli
As I neared the end of my four-mile run the other morning, I was feeling good. Feeling fast. Feeling the burn. Feeling like I had not only enjoyed the run, but that I had worked hard the last three and a half miles. One last hill and then around the corner to my street.

But my satisfying run was about to be ruined. For on the corner of that last stretch is a pickle factory. And boy, were they busy making pickles that morning. Now it's not that I'm not fond of pickles. I like them well enough. The smell from a freshly opened jar doesn't even bother me. But the scent steaming from the vent of this pickle factory was an especially strong smell of a condensed kind. It hit me in the face as I puffed past. It stung my nostrils and soured my stomach.

My run was spoiled.

This is not altogether unlike the feeling you may sometimes get when nearing the end of a book. You may be enjoying the story. You sympathize with the characters. You feel invested in them. You turn each page, wondering what new development will lead them barreling toward the climax. And then...something akin to the stench of a pickle factory wafts toward your nose (or rather, your reader's mind). Something's just not...satisfying. The ending is frumpy, the characters disappointed. The book is soured, just like my stomach on the home stretch of my run the other morning.

It's funny how a bad ending can ruin an otherwise good book and a great ending can redeem a mediocre one.

As I recently wrote the end of my latest novel, I really longed for a knockout ending, but as I wrote it smelled more like mediocre. I'm still trying to figure out possible solutions, and I'm hopeful and determined to fix the problem.

Because truly, there's nothing worse than the smell of pickles at the end of a story.

Have you ever had this experience when reading a book? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a book's ending?


Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, wife, mother, and grace-clinger—not necessarily in that order. Ever since taking her first trip to Plimoth Plantation with her sister, mother, and grandmother at the age of nine, she has been fascinated with history and its significance to today’s people and culture. Heidi is the winner of ACFW’s 2014 Genesis Contest, Historical Category. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Learn more about Heidi on her website: www.heidichiavaroli.com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Song of the Stream By Phyllis Keels

Today's post originally appeared on Phyllis Keels' blog. I enjoyed it and wanted to share it with the readers of the Seriously Write blog. (By the way, the photo of the stream was taken by my pastor's wife. Kim Lance is an awesome photographer. Check her out! -- Sandy

“If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.” Carl Perkins

Phyllis: I grew up playing in places like this. Both my mom and dad were raised in the mountains of North Carolina and we visited there a lot. I was raised in the Piedmont. Throughout my childhood, rocky streams were plentiful.

Even now, when I look at a photo like the one below, tears come to my eyes because my memories of these streams are so sweet. Solitude, the sounds of the water, the birds, the wind in the trees… Oh, what lovely times of daydreaming!

When I had a friend with me, we practiced our “catch and release” program for crawdads. Yep, crawdads.

We’d never heard of crayfish!

We trekked across giant fallen logs over the stream – the stream that transformed into a cavernous ravine as we tried not to fall off.


Photo by Kim Lance, used by permission

We marveled at the tiny “handprints” in the mud – handprints we were convinced were made by the Little People (the Leprechauns, certainly not raccoons).

We dreamed up great adventures, true love, and the ability to fly like Peter Pan. Fairies and elves, unicorns and tree houses. You name it. We could imagine it.

Looking back, I can see where my love of writing began. It began with the song of the stream. Even today, the sound of that water flowing over the rocks calls to me.

And yes, the quote above is true: without the rocks the stream would have no song. Without the obstacles, our lives would have no depth, no beauty.

It is only through the broken heart that our gifts are made perfect. Paul said it best, I can have all these abilities, resources, talents, but if I do not have love, I am nothing.

Paul had learned that to allow the love of God to flow through you is the greatest gift you can have and give. And it’s done by allowing it to happen. It’s done by changing our focus from the hurt to the source of all love: our Heavenly Father.

If you’ve had a hard life, if you’ve had adversity, and heartbreak, then my friend you are most blessed. You are in a position to possess the most beautiful song. A song that will comfort someone else as you comfort your own heart.

Let your heart sing the song of the highly favored, and deeply loved: the brokenhearted. After all, we can sing because He is always near to the brokenhearted.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear (worship) the Lord and put their trust in him. (Psalm 40:3, NIV)

(For more photos by Kim Lance, please visit her Facebook page called “Aperture of the Soul”.)



The King of Daldriada

~~~~~

Author Phyllis Keels (a two-time award winner for her Christian fiction) is a woman who is always wondering why she has too many irons in the fire.

In addition to being a writer, Phyllis is a speaker, the illustrator of an Amazon Bestseller written by Kimberly Rae, a Bible study teacher, and a woman after God’s own heart. Through her books, classes, and blog, she brings the tender words of our Heavenly Father to those who are crushed in spirit.

Phyllis shares honestly about her own experiences with loss, specifically the loss of her adult daughter Julie in 2011, and how compassionately the Lord has comforted her. She gives the call to women who long for a deeper level of honesty in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as they learn to cling to Him in life’s valleys.

Her passion is that others may also know that the Lord is faithful, and that Jesus is intimately aware of our suffering. She helps others allow the Holy Spirit to carry them by the peace that comes from receiving Jesus’ love for us.

A full-time author, speaker, and business owner of The Gifted Writer, LLC, Phyllis lives in Salisbury, North Carolina with her faithful yellow Lab named Emma.


You can read more about Phyllis, find out about her books, and follow her at:

· Website: www.PhyllisKeels.com

· Twitter: @PhyllisKeels

· Facebook Author Page: www.Facebook.com/AuthorPhyllisKeels

· Goodreads: Phyllis Keels

· Pinterest: www.Pinterest.com/PhyllisKeels

· Blog: www.TheGiftedWriterLLC.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Five Ways to Get Your (Writing) Groove On by Marie Wells Coutu


Marie Wells Coutu
The holidays are over and, if you’re like me, you took a few days off from writing. And you’re finding it difficult to get back into your writing routine.

Or maybe you finished your WIP two weeks ago and took a much-needed break.

Now it’s time to get back to work. But you can’t seem to get your seat in chair. Perhaps you’re stuck for an idea of what to write next. Or you’re in the middle of your novel but the characters won’t talk to you. Or the weather has frozen your mind.

Sometimes all it takes is to open a document on your computer and start typing, and the thrill of seeing a story come to life returns. But other times, the blank page staring back at you causes brain freeze.

Here are some ideas to help thaw those creative juices:
Image by pixabay.com
  • Pick a minor character from your favorite TV show or movie and write his/her backstory.
  • Take your favorite writing craft book (one that gives writing exercises) and turn to Chapter 5. Whatever the writing assignment is, DO it (don’t just read about it, as I frequently do).
  • Look through a magazine or newspaper and find a photo with two or more people. (Don’t get sidetracked reading the articles!) Write a scene about what happens next with those people.
  • Think about your life in the past two weeks and pick an event that had the potential to be tension-filled. Change one action or line of dialogue and write about what would have happened.
Now that you’ve gotten words on the page again, keep writing. Maybe even try this:
  • Challenge yourself to your own NaNoWriMo. Write the first draft of a novel in 30 days. Sign up for the Novel Track: Writing loop for members of ACFW for encouragement along the way from fellow writers. Or just grab one accountability partner and root for each other.
The important thing is to get started today.


You’re a writer, so write something.
About the Author
Marie Wells Coutu began telling stories soon after she learned to talk. At age seven, she convinced neighborhood kids to perform a play she had written. She wrote her first book, “I Came from Venus,” in eighth grade, but studied journalism in college. After a career writing for newspapers, magazines, governments, and nonprofits, she returned to her first love—writing fiction—at the age of fifty-five. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the Mended Vessels series, released in April 2015. Books in the series are contemporary re-imaginings of the stories of biblical women, including Esther and the woman at the well. Marie retired after 15 years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and she and her husband now divide their time between Florida and Iowa.

Thirsting for More
Northern transplant Victoria Russo moves to the charming southern city of Charleston, South Carolina, from cold Connecticut, hoping to renovate her career, her life, and an old house. Instead, she faces animosity, betrayal, and calamity. Will she repeat the pitfalls of her past mistakes, or find the freedom and restoration she seeks?